December 22, 2021


Watkins Glen 06 09/20/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Watkins Glen State Park, New York
It is all so wondrous, amazing,
complex and absurd!
We have to accept it just as it is,
and say, "Wow!" a lot.

The idea that we can somehow
manipulate "the system" 
to our advantage
is the most on-going,
raw absurdity 
in the entire gamut of absurdities.

That we can tilt the table
and have what we want
is the theme that runs through
the center
of all of the tragedies
ever created by our kind
through time.

Having what we want for how long?
At the expense of what?

Are two questions we never consider asking,
much less, answering.

"The system" is built for,
and runs on,
balance and harmony,
like a thermostat maintaining
a "constant" temperature
by allowing it to dip a bit below,
or to rise a bit above,
and raising, or lowering, it a bit 
in the opposite direction
until "constant" is achieved
for a very short while,
and it repeats the process "constantly,"
throughout time.

Or a bicycle traveling in a "straight" line
through a never-ending series
of controlled wobbles,

Having what we want is like that.
Now we have it.
Now we don't.

Trying to have what we want always,
and nothing but what we want ever,
is the recipe for insanity.
And suicide.

I've known people who chose to die
because they could not handle life
on life's terms,
saying, in effect,
"If I cannot live my life on my terms,
I choose to not live at all!"

Most of us are not as rigid as that.
Life does not favor a steady state of being.
It is give-and-take all the way
for those who make it all the way--
letting things come and go as they will,
in their own time,
in their own way,
because "that is how things are."

Nobody knows why things are as they are,
except to say "the system" requires it.
"It is the way."

And learning to let come what's coming,
and let go what's going,
is the key lesson of life
among the absurdities,
and contradictions
at work in life,
all of the time,
around the clock.

We cannot freeze the tides in place
without stopping the clock.

And who would want to do that?



Fall on Little River 11/10/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee
Living from the center,
from the heart,
from adamantine core
of integrity, sincerity, congruity and harmony
creates balance in the service of life and being,
the way a gyroscope exhibits
intention and purpose just by being itself.

Living from the core
is being one with the core
in all of our coming and going.

We do that by "minding how we go,"
in a regular and routine way
of remembering to remind ourselves
of who we are and what we are about
and how we are to be about it:
Being right about what is called for
and doing it the right way
at the right time
in the right place,
because that is who we are
and what we are here to do,
no matter what.

Return to the center,
revisit the core,
throughout each day.



Scrapping Fall 16 11/17/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Carolina Thread Trail, 12-mile Creek Segment, Waxhaw, North Carolina
I dreamed that I was not allowed
to join The Circle of Shaman
because I was like the wind that blows where it will.
The irony of that was not missed
even in the dream,
and I received the news with a smile,
knowing I did not belong there,
because Shaman groups have rules
and I see rules as guidelines,
as suggestions,
like a recipe for gumbo,
witch itself is a contradiction in terms,
and "No tomatoes in gumbo!"
is an invitation for me to add tomatoes to gumbo.

You can see, as I do, how the Shamans 
knew what they were doing.

At the same time,
I do belong to the most intimate circles
of some people,
and they belong to mine.

We all have our circles,
and our circles intersect
with the circles of all of those
who belong to our circles,
and that kind of belonging
is at the heart of who we are,
individually and collectively
throughout time.

"The Collective Unconscious"
is Carl Jung's phrase for the aspect of Mind
that includes all of us
and all of our ancestors,
and, to be consistent,
all of our descendants,
which covers the whole of us over time.
All of time.

We are One in many ways,
and the ways in which we do not belong 
to some circles
is one of the ways we are One with everyone,
in a "without contrary, is no progression"
(William Blake) kind of way.

In our opposites and contradictions we are One.
And I belong to the circle of Shaman
in spite of being excluded from their circle--
by virtue of being excluded from their circle--
because life is funny like that.

And we are all One whether we want to be or not.

I don't know how the fascists are going to take the news.
Not very well, I expect.
And that is something else they have in common
with all of us.



Fall Woods 05 11/11/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Believe in you--
not the you you look at in a mirror,
not the you you mean 
when you say, "I'll have a cup of coffee,"
not the apparent you,
not the you people would describe
when taking about you--
the you at the heart of you,
the you exhibited by your original nature,
the you that shines through
in certain situations,
leaving you to wonder,
"Where did that come from?"

Believe in that you,
trust in that you,
establish and maintain
a relationship with that you,
live aligned with that you,
in accord with that you,
in ways that express and exhibit that you
throughout what remains 
of the time left for living.

You begin to do this
by listening to your nighttime dreams,
listening to your heart,
listening to your body--
your physical symptoms
and the things you "know in your bones,"
and that come to you as "gut feelings."

Listen to your intuition
and your instincts.

Notice the things that catch your eye,
and look closer.

Notice the things that attract you,
and the things that repel you.

Follow your tastes and interests
to see where they lead.

Ask your friends what they know about you
that you don't know.

Complete "Your Totem Animal Exercise" 
on my companion WordPress site at this link:

Sit quietly from time to time,
open to what arises within
and reflecting on that
as a path to new realizations.

Write yourself a letter
and read it aloud,
then write a letter to you from yourself
and read it aloud.

Carl Jung said, "There is within each of us
another, whom we do not know."

Make it your practice to get to know
"the other" within,
and develop your relationship 
with her/him over the remainder of your life.


Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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